Human Capital & Careers

Productivity Starts on Day One

Speeding up HR tasks helps workers settle into their jobs faster. ''On-boarding'' software can help.
Karen BannanOctober 12, 2004

While the term on-boarding is fairly new, the process isn’t. Indeed, all companies have policies and procedures in place to help get a new hire up to speed. Increasingly, though, many of those procedures are being handled electronically.

The appeal of on-boarding software is obvious. “In the past, on-boarding was more sporadic and haphazard,” notes Katherine Jones, a research director (enterprise applications) at tech consultancy Aberdeen Group. “That meant a new employee would show up on Monday and his office might not be there and his phone might not be hooked up and the laptop might not be there.”

On-boarding software can help eliminate such snafus. Most on-boarding programs address different steps in the hiring process. Some, such as Recruitmax Corporate Edition from the Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.-based Recruitmax, focus on the prehiring and hiring processes. Others, including iRecruitment from Oracle Corp., handle hiring and retention. Says D.J. Chhabra, Oracle’s vice president of global HR MS development: “[The goal] is to drive as much of the employment processing as possible online.”

One vendor, Toronto-based Tercina Inc., has taken an all-in-one approach to on-boarding. Its hosted product,, is a portal that covers the entire posthiring and getting-to-know-you period. “On-boarding is a three-step process,” explains president Mark Kuznicki. “[It involves] provisioning tools and equipment, orientation, and socialization.”

The speeding up of HR tasks also helps workers settle into their jobs faster — a huge plus for both employees and employers. According to a Corporate Executive Board poll, 89 percent of new hires surveyed said they didn’t have the level of knowledge or tools necessary to execute their jobs — not good. “There’s a time between when new employees are hired and when they become revenue generating,” notes Tercina’s Kuznicki. “On-boarding reduces that time considerably.” (For more, see CFO magazine’s October 2004 article “Getting On Board.”)